to Alps and Sanctuaries 261
Then the pilgrims went into the shadow of a great rock
behind the sanctuary, spread themselves out over the grass
The Albergo Grotta Crimea
The entrance to this hotel at Chiavenna is through a covered
court-yard ; steps lead up to the roof of the court-yard, which
is a terrace where one dines in fine weather. A great tree
grows in the court-yard below, its trunk pierces the floor of
the terrace, and its branches shade the open-air dining-room.
The walls of the house are painted in fresco, with a check
pattern like the late Lord Brougham's trousers, and there are
also pictures. One represents Mendelssohn. He is not called
Mendelssohn, but I knew him by his legs. He is in the costume
of a dandy of some five-and-forty years ago, is smoking a
cigar and appears to be making an offer of marriage to his
cook.* Down below is a fresco of a man sitting on a barrel
with a glass in his hand. A more absolutely worldly minded,
uncultured individual it would be impossible to conceive.
When I saw these frescoes I knew I should get along all right
and not be over-charged.
The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in
its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to
keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.
I make them under the impression that I may use them in
my books, but I never do unless I happen to remember them
at the right time. When I wrote " Ramblings in Cheapside "
[in the Universal Review, reprinted in Essays on Life, Art and
Science] the preceding note about Public Opinion would have
come in admirably; it was in my pocket, in my little black
note-book, but I forgot all about it till I came to post my
pocket-book into my note-book.
* " Ramblings in Cheapside " in Essays on Life, Art and Science.